Indian visitations to Japan registered a 17 per cent growth

Indian visitations to Japan registered a 17 per cent growth in 2014, compared with the year before. This is a record growth percentage since Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) commenced active destination promotions in the Indian market, according to Hideki Manabe, Executive Director – Singapore, JNTO. Around 88,000 Indians visited the country last year.

Speaking to the media during the JNTO workshop and roadshow in Delhi recently, Manabe said that India is a fast growing source market for Japan and the national tourism promotion agency is hopeful of receiving over one lakh tourists from India this year.

“There is increasing interest in this market from Japanese suppliers,” Manabe said. “India is a key market for Japan Tourism to achieve the targeted international inbound figure of 20 million by 2020 – the year of Tokyo Olympics,” he added.

About the profile of Indian travellers who visit Japan, Manabe said that 80 per cent is Business travellers. Incentive travel is a major segment in the market because of the presence of a lot of Japanese companies in India, he added. He said that as part of attracting more leisure tourists to Japan, JNTO will launch television commercials in the Indian market. “We will also organise travel trade Familiaristaion (FAM) trips to Japan to educate them about the destination and thus help them design interesting packages,” he said.

Toshihiko Yamakoshi, Counsellor, Embassy of Japan, India, said that tourism is significant in promoting India-Japan relationship. The current tourist arrival figures from India are not satisfactory, when compared to the flow of Japanese tourists to India. More than two lakh Japanese tourists visited India in 2013, Yamakoshi said. He said that there are many misconceptions in the Indian market about Japan as a travel destination, and those need to be cleared. He said that Japan is no more an expensive destination. Restaurants in the country are less expensive than most in Delhi, according to Yamakoshi. Also, there are a lot of restaurants serving vegetarian food in Japan, he said. Language, he said, is no longer a barrier as English is widely understood by the people of Japan, he added.

At the workshop, there were presentations made by regional tourism boards like Hokkaido Tourism Organisation; Shizuoka Prefecture Tourism Association; Tour Quality Japan, a destination management company; and Air India Ltd., among others.

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